These days I am thinking a lot about different Magic: the Gathering decks and hence the more than ample amount of MtG-related blog posts these days. My humble apologies to those who subscribed to see something else than Magic deck article after Magic deck article. I will be posting more on my own projects again as soon as more news on those will become available. But for now it is yet another MtG blog post for you. Please skip it if you aren’t into this game at all!
So again, my mind is constantly mulling over various decks I could and would want to build, the only problem being that I get virtually no chance to actually test them these days, as all my magic compadres are busy with other stuff at the moment. Still I have many ideas and would like to share them with some of you…
So without furhter ado, I’d like to welcome you to to today’s Magic: the Gathering deck article, which will be all about one card that, while I dislike “fatties” in general, gives me that weird kind of itch in the brains that makes me want to build (a) deck(s) around it. I am talking about a card I have posted before. Lo’ and behold:
Let’s bask for a while in his monstrous glory… Emrakul, the Eons Torn: A 15 mana (!!) colossus with 15/15 which cannot be countered, gives you an extra turn if cast, flies, is protected from all colored spells AND has annihilator 6, which means once he attacks your opponent is forced to sacrifice none less than 6 permanents. Well at 15 Mana he’d better win you the game.
So Emrakul is not one of your ordinary “fatties” – the kind I normally shun and avoid playing. He offers so much goodness that I feel the urge to play him, to build a deck around him.
Well over the past years since Emrakul was released in Rise of the Eldrazi, he has been constantly on my MtG mind and in fact I have come up with various approaches how Emrakul’s horrendous casting cost could be shortcut. In the following, very lengthy (read at your own risk!) article, I would like to showcase three very different decks I have come up with over a longer period of time which are all hellbent to get the mightiest of the Eldrazi out fast, all with their own, unique approach on doing so. So let’s have at it!
Elves for Emrakul:
4 x Quirion Ranger G
4 x Wirewood Symbiote G
4 x Rofellos, Llanowar Emmissary GG
4 x Fierce Empath 2G
1 x It that Betrays 12
1 x Emrakul, the Eons Torn
4 x Time of Need 1G
4 x Nature’s Lore 1G
4 x Skyshroud Claim 3G
4 x Instill Energy G
4 x Lightning Greaves 2
3 x Wirewood Lodge
19 x Forest
The basic strategy of this “elf-supported” Emrakul deck is to get out Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary as soon as possible (Time of Need lets you search him inexpensively and can be used to fetch Emrakul as well), use his potent mana-generating ability, untap him repeatedly with a ton of creature-untapping cards to generate the 15 mana needed to hard-cast Emrakul as early as possible. The benefit from hard-casting the Eldrazi Overlord is obiviously the fact that it will net you an additional turn. And here is where one of my all-time favorite Equipments (not only in EDH/Commander) comes in, which should be an integral part of any good Emrakul deck in my opinion:
If you got Lightning Greaves out, just equip to Emrakul at 0 cost and attack right away for 15 damage (and annihilate 6 permanents while you are at it), get another turn, attack again for another 15 damage. Against most decks, Emrakul + Lightning Greaves spells defeat for your opponent. And oh boy do I love it when a card has more than one use in a deck. Prior to Emrakul, you can and should use the Greaves on Rofellos, as not only will your key-creature be protected against any (targeted) harm, he’ll also be able to exercise his mana generationg ability right away. What a great deal! First you make tremendous use of Greaves with Rofellos, then, a bit later, you switch them over to Emrakul for the win!
As I said before the deck features lots and lots of ways to untap Rofellos for more and more mana. We have a land that untaps Elves (Wirewood Lodge), two Creatures in playsets of 4 which let you untap Rofellos (Quirion Ranger and Wirewood Symbiote) and also an enchantment, which is really powerful in this deck but little known overall: Instill Energy. Instill Energy costs just 1 green mana and lets you untap the enchanted Creature once during your turn. That means this tiny, inexpensive enchantment will double the mana Rofellos produces.
I threw in one It that Betrays as a backup in case your lone Emrakul gets pulled from your deck or whatever…
Fist of Emrakul:
4 x Fierce Empath
2 x Bringer of the Black Dawn 7BB
2 x Emrakul, the Eons Torn
4 x Mana Leak
2 x Time of Need 1G
4 x Fabricate 2U
4 x Channel the Suns 3G
2 x Plague Wind 7BB
4 x Time Stretch 8UU
4 x Lightning Greaves 2
4 x Fist of the Suns 3
4 x Crystal Quarry
4 x Simic Guildgate
8 x Island
8 x Forest
This deck allows you to CAST Emrakul from your hand as early as turn 4, with the possibility of winning in case you dropped a turn 2 Lightning Greaves (see explanation above). How? Well the answer is easy. Have a look at this underrated, obscure and rarely used 3 mana artifact from Fifth Dawn:
Yes, that is right, with Fist of Suns you can cast Emrakul for WUBRG (5 mana) rather than for the regular 15, which trims his cost down quite a bit to 1/3 of the original cost. When you cast Fist of Suns on turn 3, you can pull off a 4th turn Channel the Suns which will give you exactly WUBRG and then cast Emrakul from your hand, getting all its benefits including the extra turn. And as mentioned before, in the best case there are some Lightning Greaves waiting for Emrakul to give him Haste, which will result in the loss of 30 life and 12 (!) permanents by the time your additional turn granted by Emrakul is over. What a deal!
Of course, this is one of the decks which utterly depends on one card to win, in this case Fist of Suns. If it gets destroyed or, even worse, razed from your deck, you might as well give up. Your only hope is to use Fist as early as possible, before your opponent can do anything about it. Mana Leak is in there to alleviate that situation as well, potentially countering early threats to Fist of Suns.
On the other hand, you can win even without Fist of Suns by summoning one of your Bringers of the Black Dawn early on powered through Channel the Suns or Crystal Quarry and just start beating your opponent with a 5/5 Trampler for 5 mana (that has an inbuilt Vampiric Tutor to boot!). Speaking of the Bringer: He is also in there to ensure you get the right cards you need in case you were missing some essential combo pieces in your starting hand.
That being said, this deck is far more flexible than the above Elf-Emrakul deck as you got a variety of very costly but utterly devastating cards that can be cast at about half of their original cost through Fist of Suns. At the mere cost of WUBRG, Time Stretch will give you not one but two additional turns whereas Plague Wind will obliterate all opponent Creatures. Not to bad at all.
If Bringer is not an option, the deck features lots of different ways to tutor (search your deck for) the cards you need most at any given point. Fierce Empath can fetch you Emrakul himself, whereas Fabricate will double your odds of finding the all-important Fist of Suns.
The only thing I am really missing is a cost 1 mana generating creature. Birds of Paradise and/or Noble Hierarch would be a perfect fit and allow for a second turn Fist (or Fabricate if you dont have the Fist in your hand) but alas, I had no more room for those. It was either Mana Leak or Birds/Hierarch and I think the best bet is to go with the counters as there HAS to be at least some way to protect your fist, and I want to pay that price actually. On the other hand, Birds/Hierarch would enable a turn 3 Emrakul, which would be awesome as well, but I guess if he comes turn 4 it would still be quite devastating for any opponent.
The last Emrakul Deck utilizes what is, oddly enough, probably the most obscure and at the same time actually the easiest way to get out Emrakul on like turn 3 consistently. However this method has a downside too, as we are going to see soon if you are still with me.
Fold into Emrakul:
4 x Ornithopter 0
4 x It that Betrays 12
4 x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn 15
4 x Mana Leak 1U
4 x Fold into Aether 2UU
4 x Merchant Scroll 1U
4 x Welding Jar 0
3 x Talisman of Progress 2
3 x Talisman of Dominance 2
4 x Lightning Greaves
4 x Halimar Depths
18 x Island
The key to how this deck works is, again, one card, but this time it is not a permanent that needs to remain in game to work, thus being vulnerable to removal of many kinds. This time it is an instant at the mere cost of 2UU which will put Emrakul into play from your hand. Please have a look at this usually laughably unplayable uncommon from Fifth Dawn:
Like, seriously, have you seen just one deck which runs this card, let alone to bring out a turn 3 Emrakul as I intend to do? Well as far as my knowledge goes this obscure combo hasn’t been used by anyone, although I am probably wrong on this assertion as there are Thor knows how many MtG afficionados out there so the odds are high that I am not the first one who has realized this combo.
So if you haven’t already realized from seeing the card and the full decklist, here is how it works. In order to drop a third turn Emrakul (or an It that Betrays), all you need is a Talisman (this deck runs a total of 6), a 0 cost Spell (doesn’t matter what it does, as long as the cost is zero – this deck features 8 zero cost Spells) and Emrakul (or It that Betrays) as well as Fold into Aether in hand. All you’d have to do is play a Talisman on turn 2, then on turn 3 cast one of your zero cost Spells and then, here it comes, counter YOUR OWN spell with Fold into Aether. This will let you just put your high-cost Eldrazi of choice, preferably Emrakul, into play. If you want to wait one more turn to pull this off on turn 4, you’d even have the time to drop Lightning Greaves prior to putting Emrakul or It that Betrays into play, so they would be able to attack right away and protected by the Greaves.
The downside of this method of bringing Emrakul into play early on, at the cost of 4 mana basically, is that he won’t give you that extra turn because he was not cast, as required per the card text, but put into play by an effect (the effect of Fold into Aether). But anyways all the other abilities will be in effect, which is kickass on turn 3 – 4.
One card that needs to be mentioned here is Merchant Scroll. It practically doubles your odds of drawing your much needed combo-piece, Fold into Aether, so it is vital to the success of your combolicious strategy.
On a closing note, you might have noticed that this deck would be legal in Modern Format, which is pretty awesome and while this combo style type of deck is not really something I would particularly enjoy playing, many an opponent would be caught off guard quite probably by your 3rd/4th turn Fold into Aether and what it would be putting in play that early.